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Hawthorne Heights, the Ataris and Mest Reminded Us We're All Just Old

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When the opening guitar chords of the Ataris’ “In This Diary” first came on last night during the Three Headed MonsTOUR, I was checking RTD’s mobile site for the latest possible Flatiron Flyer I could catch to Boulder to make it to work on time. Fans broke out the concert T-shirts from 2004 and the old checkered Vans for this reunion tour featuring Hawthorne Heights, the Ataris and Mest, but we could not convince ourselves that we are still as young as we once were. I realized I had officially crossed some imaginary threshold into adulthood as a baby was carried across the stage during Mest’s sound check.

Earlier in the night, after London Falling had cleared the stage for the band Handguns, I watched as a group of teenagers with big Xs on their hands rushed to the front of Summit Music Hall. I hung back with the rest of the aging twenty-somethings, all of us partially bitter just because it was a Wednesday night. Handguns played a mix of songs from its 2015 Disenchanted album, the overly emotional and catchy lyrics that make up pop-punk songs sweeping out over the crowd.

As with any reunion show, every fan showed up with their own wish list, whether it was a personal preference of Mest vocalist’s Tony Lovato’s hair color (bleached-blond and not yet ironic) or their favorite songs they hoped the bands would play at some point throughout the night. The Ataris did not disappoint, as they made sure to include “The Boys of Summer," the Don Henley cover and arguably their biggest hit, from their 2003 album, So Long, Astoria. (Fun fact: People who saw the Three Headed MonsTOUR in L.A. are especially pissed because the band chose to leave this song out.)

Mest reminded everyone that Friday nights are always best spent in a "Cadillac," and assured everyone that even after a very public Myspace breakup, studio albums are the way to get back together and mend relations. Of course, Hawthorne Heights knew they couldn’t get away with skipping “Ohio Is for Lovers” and had everyone screaming at the top of their lungs like it was Taking Back Tuesday.

The first time I saw the Ataris and Mest perform together was at the Vans Warped Tour in 2003, when a friend’s cool dad took us and probably rocked out harder than we did at the time. I saw Hawthorne Heights on the same lineup with Mest at the 2005 Warped Tour two years later with about a million other cool pop-punk bands, and that also feels like it was about a million years ago now.

Last night’s reunion show reminded us all that things have changed. There are babies at soundcheck now. Tony Lovato hangs out with people in the crowd and discusses more mundane topics than Cadillacs and partying. Kris Roe was right when he sang that being grown up isn’t half as fun as growing up.

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